Department of Health and Hospitals

Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals held a public hearing Thursday, accepting comments on proposed regulations for licensing abortion clinics. No one spoke in favor of the new rules; instead, all the comments were in opposition.

During the last legislative session, state Sen. Ben Nevers fought hard for the expansion of Medicaid in Louisiana under the Affordable Care Act. But ultimately, a bill to put the issue on the ballot didn’t even make it out of committee. 

But the legislature did pass another bill from Nevers, compelling the state Department of Health and Hospitals to come up with a plan for Louisiana to pilot “America Next” — Gov. Bobby Jindal’s alternative to Obamacare. 

DHH put out their initial report in response a few weeks ago.

The state Department of Health and Hospitals is taking preliminary steps to further privatize Medicaid in Louisiana. In August, DHH released a concept paper about reforms to long-term care for the developmentally disabled and low-income elderly.

Louisiana will continue operating a nutrition program for more than 140,000 low-to moderate income women and children even though the federal government is in the midst of a partial shutdown.

The Department of Health and Hospitals said Thursday that Louisiana's Women, Infants and Children Program, commonly called WIC, will be funded until the end of October, using money set aside from the prior fiscal year.

DPDx and GS Visvesvara / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Federal and state health regulators have confirmed that a child, who died from encephalitis caused by a rare amoeba, contracted the illness while visiting a home in St. Bernard Parish.

Louisiana's Department of Health and Hospitals said Thursday that while water samples taken from the home tested positive for the Naegleria fowleri amoeba, initial tests of the parish water system are negative for it.

Since 2009, Louisiana and seven other states have been using a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to make Medicaid more accessible to those who are eligible.

At the close of the recent legislative session, Gov. Bobby Jindal vetoed additional funding to pay for services for the developmentally disabled.

Two weeks ago, an effort to override the veto failed.

The $3.9 million would have covered a partial year of comprehensive at-home disability services for an additional 200 people through what are called "New Opportunity Waivers".

Officials from the Department of Health and Hospitals were grilled Tuesday morning by the Appropriations Committee on how they plan to save money in the next fiscal year.

Among other cost-saving measures, the department’s $8.9 billion proposed budget calls for turning over a number of existing Medicaid services to private entities, and investing more in the Bayou Health reforms. Savings also hinge on the privatization of the LSU charity hospitals, although no official agreements have been made yet.

State health officials say more than $800,000 in public money allegedly has been misappropriated by a Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals employee.

The Times-Picayune reports DHH said the theft was uncovered during an internal investigation. DHH's Bureau of Health Care Integrity began the probe after officials noticed unusual accounting practices involving the employee, whose name has not been released.

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s proposed $24.7 billion state budget for the next fiscal year seemingly leaves the state Department of Health and Hospitals relatively unscathed.